As we play out the final month of the 2011-'12 NBA season, we take a look at each franchise. Who emerged, what went wrong, what lies ahead. A look at post season chances, long term potential and upgrades possible in this summer's NBA draft. We continue in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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Minnesota took a big step towards respectibility this season, mainly from the All-World play from power forward Kevin Love. Nikola Pekovic was one of the biggest surprises in the Association and could team with Love in the pain for years to come. Derrick Williams has showed signs and should be a stalwart in the near future. Ricky Rubio became one of the most exciting players in the league, but unfortunately suffered a season ending injury.
The Timberwolves are right at the cap, but should gain relief from the departure of Webster and Miller, with possibly Milicic and Ridnour targets as well.
Minnesota's first round pick was traded and a pick from Utah is lottery protected, meaning the T-Wolves probably won't be selecting in the first round. Minnesota traded its second rounder in '09 but have the rights to Oklahoma City's selection late in the round. Minnesota has loaded up in the lottery of late with Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Derrick Williams and Wesley Johnson. Don't forget the robbery of Washington, getting Ricky Rubio for Mike Miller and Randy Foye several years ago.
The T-Wolves will probably part ways with Webster (non-guaranteed) and Miller (retirement) leaving Darko Milicic as the most obvious candidate for amnesty. This would demand Minnesota acquiring a legitimate center, either in the draft or free agency to backup Pekovic and Love.
The Good: Kevin Love may be the most valuable player in the league. While he won't win the award while Minnesota sits out the post season, there is not a better inside/outside player around. Ricky Rubio proved worth the wait and will bring fans to the seats for the next decade. Nikola Pekovic was as solid as most centers in the Western Conference and a real find by the T-Wolves. J.J. Barea is a nice change of pace to Rubio and allows Minnesota to move Luke Ridnour.
The Bad: Michael Beasley was the subject of trade rumors all season long, but remains a Timberwolve. Lottery pick Wesley Johnson hasn't delivered and may not be the player projected by many. Anthony Randolph has a world of talent, but has yet to show it on the court. Luke Ridnour proved to be the most reliable partner in the backcourt for Rubio, but Minnesota needs reliable perimeter shooting at the two.
The T-Wolves have a potential 14 players under contract for next season, so something has to give. The Association may increase the active rosters permanently to 13 players, but Minnesota will still have to let a player or two go. Center Brad Miller and small forward Martell Webster are non guaranteed for next season. Forwards Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph have qualifying offers. Georgetown center Henry Sims would be a nice get late, but his growth as a senior may land him higher in the round. If Ridnour is moved, a combo guard like Missouri's Marcus Denmon would make sense.
Nikola Pekovic, Darko Milicic, Brad Miller
Michael Beasley, Martell Webster, Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, Anthony Randolph
Ricky Rubio, J.J.Barea, Luke Ridnour, Wayne Ellington, Malcom Lee, Wesley Johnson
Anthony Tolliver, Henry Sims, Marcus Denmon
Who Are The Experts Taking and When? Check Out The Latest ADP from The NFBC!
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Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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